Pat Flavin, a 6'-7" offensive tackle from Benet Academy in the Chicago suburbs, had seen Illinois before unofficially, but this weekend he got a chance to spend time with the coaches and players. He felt comfortable among them.
"I could see it all first hand. How much of a family the team is, and how good the guys are. The O Linemen all live together, and everyone has a really tight bond. Coach Zook really talked about the family atmosphere and that the coaches are looking out for you."
Flavin has a long offer list from schools located coast to coast, and he has taken a few visits before. However, at this point he's really narrowed the scope of his recruitment, and the Illini have made the cut.
"I visited Cal in October. Illinois is my second visit. The two schools I'm down to are Illinois and UCLA. I'm not sure if I'll take one there or not because of setting up a date. I don't want to wait until January to decide."
Flavin is on a tight schedule with finals, but he hopes to make a visit to UCLA to fairly compare his options before he makes his final decision.
"I mean, I've been out to UCLA twice on unofficials. I kind of have an idea of what it's like. Not as clear as Illinois. Hopefully I'll be able to go out and check it out officially."
Illinois made a strong impression on Flavin while he was on campus. The coaches and players made him feel as if he was a regular in Champaign.
"Being around the players and seeing how well I fit in with them all. They're easy to talk to, and they're really good guys. I'd never seen one of Illinois' practices before. It was intense, and it stuck with me."
Flavin was able to make closer connections with the other offensive linemen, both present and future.
Flavin was also familiar with a couple of the other visitors.
"Matt LaCosse is a friend of mine, so we hung out a bit. I didn't get to know all the guys, but we hung out here and there."
So will Flavin meet his January deadline?
"I'd like to decide before Christmas ideally, but that's not set in stone. If I get out to UCLA it would probably stretch that another week or so. I just want to digest the experience and not commit right away on a good feeling from a visit. I want to see how I feel a few days later. I'll probably just call the coach and commit and then let everyone else know."
Keep an eye on Flavin, he could soon become a member of the 2011 class for Illinois.